Now let’s set the scene with some essentials. 
Friday afternoon, the Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays opened the 2019 ALDS at Minute Maid Park. It’s the start of the Juice Box Series: Minute Maid Park vs. Tropicana Field. The Astros went 107-55 during the regular season and won the AL West. The Rays beat the Athletics in the AL Wild Card Game earlier this weekHere’s the full postseason schedule.

How to watch

Date: Friday, Oct. 4 | Time: 2:05 p.m. ET
Location: Minute Maid Park (Houston, Texas)
TV: FS1 | Stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Odds: HOU: -210 | TB: +190 | O/U: 7
Pitchers: Tyler Glasnow vs. Justin Verlander
Follow: CBS Sports App 
On paper, the Rays might be the American League team that best matches up against the powerhouse Astros. Even with Blake Snell limited to short starts following elbow surgery, Tampa’s rotation is very good, and their platoon-heavy lineup is deep and diverse. Pirates fans look away: Glasnow, Gerrit Cole, and Charlie Morton will all pitch in this ALDS, and Austin Meadows will roam the outfield.


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Pick: Astros 2, Rays 1


The SportsLine Projection Model (@SportsLine on Twitter) sees the Astros as favorites. We see no cause to disagree. We’ll say Verlander out-duels Glasnow, and Houston’s bullpen makes a small lead stand up. Michael Brantley comes through with the clutch go-ahead hit in the middle innings.
Tampa will give the ball to Glasnow in Game 1 after Morton started (and won) the Wild Card Game. Verlander of course gets the nod for the Astros. Houston has arguably the best lineup in baseball this season, so that combined with their dominant rotation gives them an edge over pretty much every team in baseball. The Rays are a pesky bunch though, and will be a handful in a short postseason series.